Experts warn flu could be ‘life-threatening’ for high-risk groups

Experts have warned that flu season could have “life-threatening” consequences, with a recent report showing young Australians are most at risk.

Experts warn flu could be 'life-threatening' for high-risk groups

The Australian Influenza Surveillance Report confirms an early spike in flu cases this year.

The flu season started early, with absenteeism rising a month before the seasonal reporting period began.

So far this year, 87,989 flu cases have been reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System in Australia. More than 54 percent of those flu cases were diagnosed in the past two weeks.

The number of confirmed flu cases per week has exceeded the five-year average for the past two months.

According to the Health Ministry report, 733 people have been hospitalized with flu since April.

The report found that young people under 19 were most affected by the flu, accounting for more than half of hospital admissions. The Department of Health noted that young people were a “population at risk” for the flu.

Tragically, the report stated that 27 people had died from flu-related causes.

Acting Medical Director Sonya Bennett noted that Australia was grappling with the dual threat of flu season and the pandemic.

Camera icon Four-year-old Kaiser McKinley reportedly died of flu last week in Gladstone, Queensland. Credit: Included

“In the last two years, flu cases in Australia have been very low due to restrictions on international travel and a range of other measures such as social distancing and wearing masks, but now that restrictions have been relaxed, flu cases are on the rise,” she said in a statement. A statement. †

A spokesman for the Ministry of Health warned people that the flu is highly contagious and can cause serious symptoms.

“Influenza can affect anyone, but it is especially serious and potentially life-threatening for populations at risk,” they said.

The spokesperson said that certain flu strains might also be more affected by different demographics.

Dr. Bennett said it would be difficult to predict when flu cases could rise and urged people to protect themselves with a vaccine.

“Annual vaccination is the most important measure to prevent the flu and its complications,” she said.

Camera IconActing chief medical officer Sonya Bennett urged Australians to vaccinate against the flu. Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

She said vaccinations helped protect against infection or developing a more serious disease.

Dr. Bennett noted that vaccination coverage was lower than in previous years for children under five, one of the demographic groups hardest hit by flu season.

She also encouraged people to continue taking the same prevention measures used during the pandemic, including washing hands regularly, covering coughs and sneezes, wearing a face mask, and staying home if they are not feeling well.

The Australian government provides free flu vaccinations to pregnant women, First Nations people, people with certain medical conditions, children under six, and adults over 65.

Australian chief nurse and obstetrician Alison McMillan said it is “absolutely safe” for pregnant women to get vaccinated against the flu.

Camera IconLaurette McLarty of Redland Bay gets the flu vaccine. Liam Kidston Credit: News Corp Australia

“There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the vaccine can protect you and your baby, and there is no evidence that there are any adverse effects associated with flu vaccination during pregnancy,” she said.

All NSW, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania residents also have access to free flu vaccinations through a doctor or pharmacy.

“Now is the time to make it happen,” said Professor McMillan.

Lori J. Kile
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